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Subject: 2 player variant official beta rss

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Helge Ostertag
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EDIT:At the moment a new file is pending approval: 2 player variant.pdf
Once it is accessible, you are all welcome to try out the official two player beta version.



A new file is accessible: 2 player variant.pdf

You are all welcome to try out the official two player beta version.

How does it work? In the file you will find 6 cards for the dummy player set-up + the dummy players' values for the additional final scorings from the fire & ice expansion.
You need to print out the 6 cards. Before each two player game, shuffle these cards and randomly draw one. Also, randomly draw one of the 7 basic player colors and assign it to the dummy player.
Now do the set-up of the two player board, using all 17 buildings from the dummy player. Place one building on each of the 11 home terrains of that color, then place landscape tiles in the same color (=same terrain) adjacent to all buildings of the dummy player at the border of the game board: The buildings already have to be outposts (=directly at the border), the additionally placed landscape tiles will only be placed at the outer border of the game board, adjacent to those outposts. Now follow the direction given on the set-up card to place the last 6 buildings of the dummy player as outposts, starting in the edge where the black arrow starts and following the given direction.
Place 4 markers in the dummy players color at the cult board, each marker according to the value on the set-up card. The number in the pink circle is the dummy's value for the area scoring.

Now you can do the normal set-up.



Within the game, the players can build next to dummy buildings, thus getting cheaper upgrades.


This is the beta version of the upcoming official two player variant, so I am happy to get your feedback. Happy holidays and a good start into the next year!

EDIT: Has anyone tried this out so far? You can play this variant on any map!
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Per Olander
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Hi Helge - at first, I really like the energy and heart you put into the game but I must say, I like the effort, not the result (at first glance)

having played around 500 2p games on snellman, (I hope that) I know what I am talking about.

the OK elements:
summing to 22 cult steps, but in variable colors, should hopefully give a bit of dynamic in faction choice. the 10-13 network size, could also affect if you go for a more aggressive faction, or a natural vp scorer.

the main negative thing:
setting up neutral buildings, will IMO, make the 2p game even more solitaire than it is right now - a few factions work fine without neighbors, but in 2p, you generally play a quite aggressive battle back and forth, about leech, cheap TPs, and aggressive digging to hurt each other. with neutral buildings, it will be much easier, just to settle at different places, each playing "your own game".

I also kindof dislike taking a color out before faction selection, at least its not that needed in 2p, since its zero sum - I have seen plenty of variation, playing giants vs nomads, darklings vs engineers, swarmlings vs fakirs, dwarves vs mermaids - so the color wheel is not a problem in 2p, since no-one gains a significant advantage, it just makes the fight over certain shared colors more tight/more loose.
at second though, I actually think that the "dummy color choice" will limit the faction selection quite a lot, since if for instance black is chosen, then blue and brown will have a lot of single dig hexes taken away, and likely cut the reasonable color choices from 7 to 4.

I am one of the players, who don't see the "auto 2nd scoring" as a problem, with F&I scoring, I think the difference in 2x 18 vs 12 vp is enough, and we rarely just go for 1 or 2 steps at a cult, and then leave it at that. a much more simple and non-cardboard solution, would be to just score 1st and 3rd, so 18vp + 6vp, or simply 2nd and none, so 12vp + 0vp.
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Flo P
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Dear Helge,

Thank you so much for still putting in an effort and trying to improve your game. I will definitely look into trying this out with my friends (although all of us currently can't get enough of GP).

One thing I learned from the 2p games in GP though (I never played TM as a pure 2p, but always as a variant where each player controls 2 races, but you get no leeching/building bonuses from you own races), is that there can really be a struggle for neighbouring structures at times - which is an aspect I enjoy since it forces you back into the influence sphere of your opponent. So like Per Olander already mentioned I am not sure whether allowing to get cheaper buildings from the dummy player won't be detrimental to the game.

However I really like how the cards will lead to a lot of variance in the 2p setups. I will see to it that I post my impressions here once we have tried this out. Keep up the good work!
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J A
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Wow, more official game development for 2-player TM!!! This is to cool! What a nice Xmas surprise!

Can't wait to try it out!

Thank you very much Horologiom, and Merry Xmas!
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Robert
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Per Olander wrote:
I actually think that the "dummy color choice" will limit the faction selection quite a lot, since if for instance black is chosen, then blue and brown will have a lot of single dig hexes taken away, and likely cut the reasonable color choices from 7 to 4.
Why do you consider this a problem? For me, it's a feature to break up any meta which may have evolved (e.g. the dominance of Swarmlings).

Of course, in many of my 2p games (not a lot) we did random faction picks with auction, which breaks up any meta just as good. Coming to think of it, combining the official approach described above with randomly picked factions and auction would deliver an universe of variety.
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Per Olander
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DocCool wrote:
Per Olander wrote:
I actually think that the "dummy color choice" will limit the faction selection quite a lot, since if for instance black is chosen, then blue and brown will have a lot of single dig hexes taken away, and likely cut the reasonable color choices from 7 to 4.
Why do you consider this a problem? For me, it's a feature to break up any meta which may have evolved (e.g. the dominance of Swarmlings).

Of course, in many of my 2p games (not a lot) we did random faction picks with auction, which breaks up any meta just as good. Coming to think of it, combining the official approach described above with randomly picked factions and auction would deliver an universe of variety.


well, its a qualified guess, since I haven't tried this variant (and only play on snellman, my copy of the game + F&I have seen the table twice, but still love the investment, since the game brings so much online) but I dont see any staleness in 2p, the same way as I see it in 4p, and I fear that reducing the "real" choices to 4 colors, plus the different setup possibilities, might more often lead to a scewed choice, where player 1 have an obvious choice, that will make player 2 struggle to compete, right from the beginning.
 
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Claustrophobic Pancake
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Are there any plans for a new edition of Terra Mystica, containing this variant?

The reason I ask:
I do not own Terra Mystica yet, but I play the app a lot. I am thinking about purchasing the board game, but the base game lacks certain things: "player-order-passing"-board, the adjusted starting VP and a 2-player variant.
Adding these things would make a future base game edition of TM really desirable for me.

PS: I know Gaia Project has everything fixed. But I enjoy the theme of Terra Mystica more and I would like to see an updated version of the game.
 
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Marco Auer
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I already own Terra Mystica and I hope for a small upgrade pack to buy all required components. Would be a shame if I have to buy the entire game again.
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Ossian Grr aka "Josh"
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There was a thread awhile back which mentioned a 2018 expansion, including such things as rules for altered starting VPs per faction per map based on snellman stats.
I would assume that if they go through with a TM expansion this year, it will also include whatever comes out of this 2p variant beta. And maybe automa rules and other things back-ported from Gaia Project.

(Maybe optional "ritual" rules for getting to certain points on the cult-track, to match the tech-trees? One can speculate)
 
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James Wolfpacker
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You can print out or even just write down the adjusted vp starts.

For the player order board, it is nice to have, but you can simulate it. Use the big orange 1st player token as the current round marker and make a column of landscape tiles in player order. When players pass just make a 2nd column. When everyone has passed put the marker at the top of the new column.
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Ossian Grr aka "Josh"
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JamesWolfpacker wrote:
You can print out or even just write down the adjusted vp starts.


Yes, that's fine. I didn't say whether I even liked the concept or not. I'm just stating the fact of the context in which a 2018 expansion was mentioned, and it may include more stuff.

Quote:
For the player order board, it is nice to have, but you can simulate it. Use the big orange 1st player token as the current round marker and make a column of landscape tiles in player order. When players pass just make a 2nd column. When everyone has passed put the marker at the top of the new column.


The player order board is included with Fire&Ice already. That's already a thing that exists, so it wouldn't be a part of a hypothetical new expansion.

 
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James Wolfpacker
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I was referring to the person who posted about the base game not having the turn order board.
 
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Mr Avers
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Thank you very much for taking the time to develop new content for Terra Mystica and especially for thinking about the 2 player game. Having played TM with this variant a few times now, we have some feedback. Some background first:

We have played TM around 30 times, all of them 2p. We always include the F&I and mini-expansion (special landscape tiles and other promos). And we play mostly with the rules as written with the following exceptions:

- Randomly decide the faction to play
- Block the bottom two spaces of each cult track

For us TM has worked very well this way, though we do recognize that the lack of (at least) a third player makes the end-game goals for two player scoring not ideal.

- So we were happy to see the variant of the dummy player values for the cult track and end-game scoring. Since the values are known up front, this adds a nice wrinkle to the decision making of the puzzle that is the heart of the 2p experience. Essentially we see these dummy values as more end-game goals, which we very much enjoy. Though more different setup values (especially for the F&I objectives), or a more difficult set of values would be nice to have.


- The dummy buildings unfortunately we do not like, at all. First we found the setup of those to be inelegant and confusing. Then there is the chance (due to how we select our race) that the dummy has more of an effect on one player than the other. And while we understand that the general idea of the dummy is to provide more of the discount opportunities that the higher player counts have, in actual gameplay we found this not to happen a lot more than normally would. At least not enough for us to overcome the negative impact the changes to the board created.

Another function of the dummy seems to be to tighten up the board a bit. But again, here also we found it to have more of a negative impact. We would much rather prefer a smaller board, or another way to tighten up the current board(s). Maybe by blocking an equal amount of hexes from each color across the board, but then without providing any benefits for building next to it?


As mentioned, for us 2p TM is a puzzle. And works very well that way. While the higher player counts will provide more interactivity; the bonus cards, power actions and sometimes building bonuses and map position keep it from being a multiplayer solitaire game at the 2p count. And frankly, like with most of these type of games, that is probably the best we can get from the 2p experience.

So for us the dummy player values for the cult track and end-game scorings are a great addition, and we will keep on playing the game with those. But unfortunately it feels that the dummy buildings force an artificial interaction which we not only find unnecessary, but also has too much potential to unbalances the game for one player.

Since it is still a beta, no doubt that more development will happen so we will keep an eye out for any updates.
 
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Robert
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Well, the 2p variant rules assume that you otherwise adhere to the existing rules. If you've introduced a bunch of house rules (and most people will tell you that picking random factions WITHOUT AUCTIONING THEM isn't a good idea), there's no wonder if this variant doesn't work well with them. Note that if you use auctioning, the dummy buildings are just another factor going into the decision how much to bid at the auction.
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Mr Avers
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Very much aware of the auction Robert. Though note that the auction is an option in the F&I rules, not a standard rule. In fact, the base game rules actual note, as an alternative, that factions can be assigned randomly.

The reason I listed the random selection in the beginning as an exception is that there may be an expectation on these forums to play by tournament rules. But it may be easy to forget that there is a large group like us (lets call us 'casual' players) who won't play by those rules, but still will be interested in a 2 player orientated expansion.

Which is why I provided our feedback from that viewpoint. Hope this helps in gaining perspective.
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Helge Ostertag
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GhundiPI wrote:
Very much aware of the auction Robert. Though note that the auction is an option in the F&I rules, not a standard rule. In fact, the base game rules actual note, as an alternative, that factions can be assigned randomly.

The reason I listed the random selection in the beginning as an exception is that there may be an expectation on these forums to play by tournament rules. But it may be easy to forget that there is a large group like us (lets call us 'casual' players) who won't play by those rules, but still will be interested in a 2 player orientated expansion.

Which is why I provided our feedback from that viewpoint. Hope this helps in gaining perspective.



Thanks for your feedback, you are the first person to answer, who actually played the beta version and therefor made a comment based on an actual experience, which I find quite valuable.

If in fact you distributed the factions randomly, then I must assume, it will lead to imbalances. I don't think this way of decreasing the size of the map works with a random faction distribution.
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Mr Avers
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Horologiom wrote:
[q="GhundiPI"]Thanks for your feedback, you are the first person to answer, who actually played the beta version and therefor made made a comment based on an actual experience, which I find quite valuable.

If in fact you distributed the factions randomly, then I must assume, it will lead to imbalances. I don't think this way of decreasing the size of the map works with a random faction distribution.
Thank you Helge!

One possible variation we have thought up that will help with randomness of the dummy setup for 2 player at least(Edit: yeah, obviously ): after we have our factions, there will always be one color that is equidistant. Either the color in between or one on the other side of the ring. That will be the color used for the dummy setup.

One question though: is it necessary to place those last 6 houses? There is probably a good reason, more tightening of the board, but it does somehow make the map feel uneven.

But maybe we are just too used to the openness of the 2 player map
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Helge Ostertag
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GhundiPI wrote:

One possible variation we have thought up that will help with randomness of the dummy setup for 2 player at least(Edit: yeah, obviously ): after we have our factions, there will always be one color that is equidistant. Either the color in between or one on the other side of the ring. That will be the color used for the dummy setup.

One question though: is it necessary to place those last 6 houses? There is probably a good reason, more tightening of the board, but it does somehow make the map feel uneven.

But maybe we are just too used to the openness of the 2 player map


Tightening the board is what a lot of players asked for, besides changes in the final scorings. So the intention of this variant is to tighten the board! I am not sure if it is necessary to place the last 6 buildings though...

Thanks for your input!
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Aaron Ma
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Just to confirm: the last 6 buildings will be placed on the landscape tiles we previously placed (which are adjacent to the outposts). It will be the first 6 of these tiles according to the direction on the card, leaving 3 landscape tiles with no buildings on them. Am I understanding this correctly?

 
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Thomas Minne
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Hello,

I tried this official variant for players.
It's improving the experience when playing TM at 2 players.

For me, the main drawback of this setup is that a color is completely occupied by the random player (except some spots in the border that are only terraformed).

This is a big disadvantage if you want to play a color that is next to the random choosen race. In the game I played, I choosed Halfling and the random player was Darkling, this choice has divided by 2 the possibilities to terraform with only 1 spade.

I don't have the magic answer and I'm still thinking about it, but another solution could be not to build on all the spot of the random color, but to build on 6 of them (choosen randomly) and then terraform 2 times around each those spots and build 2 additional building (the goal is to create 6 group of 3 buildings). To terraform around those spots, we could imagine the same mechanism with an arrow to indicate where to start.

It's just my feedback.

Cheers

 
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Helge Ostertag
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Soapermania123 wrote:
Just to confirm: the last 6 buildings will be placed on the landscape tiles we previously placed (which are adjacent to the outposts). It will be the first 6 of these tiles according to the direction on the card, leaving 3 landscape tiles with no buildings on them. Am I understanding this correctly?



Correct!
 
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Helge Ostertag
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dingolol wrote:


I don't have the magic answer and I'm still thinking about it, but another solution could be not to build on all the spot of the random color, but to build on 6 of them (choosen randomly) and then terraform 2 times around each those spots and build 2 additional building (the goal is to create 6 group of 3 buildings). To terraform around those spots, we could imagine the same mechanism with an arrow to indicate where to start.

It's just my feedback.

Cheers



Thanks, very much appreciated! I will think of another approach, to find a solution without taking away all hexes of one color...
 
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Erik Burigo
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As a solution to this is, maybe, letting the players choose their races after having randomly chosen the dead man color.

Another solution may be selecting the third color as the only one equidistant from both player colors.
E.g.:
- If the players choose red and yellow, then the 3rd color becomes blue.
- If the players choose blue and brown, the 3rd color becomes black.
- If the players choose blue and red, the 3rd color become brown.
 
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Robert
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dingolol wrote:
This is a big disadvantage if you want to play a color that is next to the random choosen race. In the game I played, I choosed Halfling and the random player was Darkling, this choice has divided by 2 the possibilities to terraform with only 1 spade.
I wonder about your remark "if you want to play a color": why does somebody want to play that color? Because they felt like playing Halflings when they woke up this morning? Or because the setup otherwise looks good for Halflings? If it's the former, I don't think they should bother too much about the unavailability of black hexes, as VPs clearly aren't in their focus. If it's the latter, well, then there's a new parameter in the setup with this variant which just so happens to make Halflings less attractive.

I think this is actually why the variant does this: to keep the board and faction selection interesting and each game fresh compared to the previous one. As I see it, the idea is that in a situation like yours, you need to consider the new trade-offs: the normal game setup may be friendly to Halflings, but the fact that all black hexes are taken definitely is not. So when picking a faction, you need to consider the whole picture including the unavailability of black hexes.

Saying "The setup is bad for Halflings. But I want to play them!" is ok if you're a beginner still working through the factions, but it is not how faction selection should be done later on.
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Robert
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Painkeeper wrote:
As a solution to this is, maybe, letting the players choose their races after having randomly chosen the dead man color.
As I understand the rules, this is how it's meant to work. Anything else would be ridiculously (and un-TM-ishly) random.
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